The purpose of this tutorial is to show that even a small studio can afford to use facial motion capture. As an animator in the computer games industry I have on numerous occasions been approached by the creative producer regarding the possibility to produce minutes upon minutes of lipsync animation. Sadly the time frame has always been too tight to deliver a quality that I can personally be proud of. The technique presented in this tutorial is an attempt to bridge the gap between large quantities of lipsync and a tight time budget.
You can download an example video from this URL to get started on your own project -> http://www.ericthelander.com/tutorial/cheapFacialMotionCapture.zip
This tutorial requires knowledge of character rigging, skin binding, and skin painting in Maya.
In preparation for a lecture I recorded this clip (in Swedish) as a kind of benchmark how fast the process is once you’ve done the initial setup. This clip was achieved not more than 20 minutes from from the point where I imported the video from my Ixus camera to my computer.
On one of my projects I was required to supply a character with Facial Mocap to a low cost. The solution was to utilize Mayas buit-in tracking feature, Live, to track the markers on the actors face and the transfer their motion to a face rig. The result really exceeded my expectations as you can see in the example clip. The only problem I have now is that Autodesk has discontinued the Live feature in Maya 2011 shifting focus to Autodesk Matchmover.
Today I tested out the mocap system used by my University. It’s a new experience for me compared to mocap work I did at GRIN. At GRIN I supervised actors to do the correct set of motions needed for the game Terminator Salvation. I didn’t need to think about marker occlusions or doing the first pass of solving and cleaning. Now I really have to think about all the possible problems that might happen during a shoot.
The setup process was interesting, getting all the cameras to sync and then later calibrate them so that they all recognized the points in space. After that it was all about acting, trying to capture the soul of my imagined alien. I wouldn’t brag about this being Oscar’s material or anything but it was rewarding to see the stick figure mimicking my every move, even if my foot had a life of its own at some points.
Welcome to my scrapbook. The intention of this blog is to document different experiments in computer graphics. If you find this information useful then I'm happy to be of service. Otherwise just ignore me :).